I told you I was going up to Lynchburg over the weekend to see my son and his family. What I didn’t know at the time was that they were planning to go to the Virginia Safari Park which is up the road and near the Natural Bridge. This is a pretty nice area of Virginia with all the mountains and these two tourist attractions.
So it slowly dawned on me as we entered the park and I looked up the road that we would be mingling with all kinds of wild animals. I was sitting in the way back seat of the minivan. Mom and dad were up front. And the two little ones were in the middle.
The emu’s, camels, bison, bongos, zebras and wildebeests were all around the car looking at me (the sliding doors were open) and hoping I would give them something to eat. I managed to move forward in between the two children in their little car seats with my camera and take some photos while I was slamming the doors if they got too close.
I wasn’t about to let them have one of the children for a snack. I wasn’t worried too much about the blackbuck or the oryxes. And the watusis horns were too wide to get through the door. But the zebra were another story and the buffalo definitely were not coming near any of us. I could see one of them a few cars forward sticking his head in the back of another minivan.
We started out into the park and a camel came right up and put his head inside the front window where my son Jeremy was holding a bucket of feed. You can see him getting ready to make his move in one of these photos. Then they would do a tag team drill where one of them would stand in front of the car so you couldn’t move and the other one would sneak around the side and put his head in the window while you were supposedly distracted by the first one.
I have to hand it to these guys. They knew what they were doing. And there were several park attendants around with these nasty sounding whips. The crew would move off immediately when they heard that sound. I didn’t see any of them actually being whipped.
But then I started thinking about how human beings are actually whipped in various places and how awful this sort of thing is for people or animals to endure.
So we spent an hour or so travelling through the park and meeting the animals. Once things cleared out a bit things were more relaxed and we enjoyed communing with nature and the animal population. Here are some photos of our visit.
I tried to name all of them but wouldn’t be surprised if I got some of them wrong. Please let me know if you you see a missed ID especially where the deer are concerned.